YMCA site, Errol St EC1

This site is a few minutes walk from where I live. There will be a “new home for young homeless Londoners”. “146 beds, 10 000 lives, 60 years”, says the text on the hoarding.

There will be 146 en-suite rooms, an “affordable gym for the whole community” and a “social enterprise unit”. You can see none of this in the picture. It is a building site. The old YMCA building has come down, revealing a temporary skyline.  I hastened out to draw this skyline before it is obscured by the new building.


In this view the huge diversity of London life is visible. On the left, Finsbury Tower houses the Cass Business School. The grey sloping roof below it is the Royal Statistical Society, whose main entrance is on Errol Street. This is an old Victorian building, clearly previously ecclesiastical. IMG_2445The three foundation stones are all dated 29th October 1889. They were laid, from left to right by Rev WF Moulton, Mrs ES Whelpton, and Mrs EA Holman. The names of the architects and builders are written on the left hand stone: WH Boney Esq, Architect, and Holloway Bros, Builders.

The building with the pitched roof, in the centre, is part of St Joseph’s Catholic Church. The Church itself is mostly underground. Right now they have a crib which you can visit.

On the right, the tall building with the wire netting on top, looks like an old school. It is in poor repair: the paint on the window frames is flaking, and the rooms look dark. But it is occupied. There was a light on in one of the windows, and Christmas decorations visible in the gloom behind the dusty window panes. Part of the building is “St Josephs Parish Hall”, accessible from the other side, with a modern lift. A notice by the door said “National Association for People Abused in Childhood”, but the notice looked very old, and I can’t find any reference to it on the web.

At the base of this building is a lovely garden, open during certain hours in the summer. It is in memory of Basil Hume “Monk and Shepherd”.

IMG_2447(with text)

In the centre background is the huge residential tower that is being built in Shoreditch: the “Principal Tower” 50 stories.

This picture took an hour and a half, drawn and coloured on location.




2 thoughts on “YMCA site, Errol St EC1”

  1. This is so nice. I miss London already. I hope you can keep sharing: your lovely paintings are likely as close as I am going to get to London in the next several months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your encouragement cybaea! I intend to keep painting, but as we are now advised not to go out, I am doing paintings from the windows of this tower block. This is quite hard, as the buildings are far away. Depending on how the advice evolves, I hope to get out, because the streets will be empty and I shall be able to preserve “social distance” while drawing. But right now it seems like a bad idea to stand outdoors and get cold! I hope you are staying healthy and managing OK where you are. Thanks again for the comment.


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